Everyone knows regular dental appointments are important to your dental health. But there are also many things you can do between appointments to help maintain good dental health and keep the dentist’s work – and your bills – to a minimum!
About Dental Checkups and Maintenance
Here are 10 things your dentist wants you to know:
1. Change your toothbrush regularly – as often as every 3 months.
Regular toothbrushes usually wear out after 3 months of daily use. If you have gum disease like gingivitis, Dr. Shin recommends you should change your toothbrush every 4 to 6 weeks. The bristles on your toothbrush accumulate bacteria over time that cause gum disease and infections. Other things to keep in mind regarding toothbrush maintenance are (1) washing it with hot water after every use and (2) replacing it after you have been sick.
2. Root canal treatments are not actually painful.
Many people seem to think that root canals are very painful, however this isn’t the case anymore. Thanks to technological advancement, root canals are as painless as having a cavity filled. When you get a root canal or a dental filling, your dentist will generally numb the surrounding area with a local anesthetic, which is effective until after the pain has subsided.
3. Maintaining dental health between appointments is easy.
It is a common myth that maintaining good dental health is difficult and requires a lot of time. However, if you brush twice daily, floss your teeth once a day, and are eating a healthy diet, you’ll be able to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Be sure to see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings too! Dr. Shin suggests professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Many dental insurance policies will cover two cleanings per year, but few people take full advantage of their benefits.
4. Dental problems don’t resolve themselves, it’s important to see a dentist.
Once your dentist has diagnosed a tooth, gum, or oral health problem, you should seek treatment as soon as possible, as tooth decay and cavities do not heal on their own and require professional dental assistance.
5. Good nutrition between appointments helps keep teeth healthy.
If your regular diet contains a lot of sweet snacks, candy, or carbonated beverages, your teeth are more likely to develop decay between dental appointments. Sugar tends to stay on your teeth and provides a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Therefore, it is best to avoid sugary drinks and sodas when possible. If you find yourself consuming sugary snacks and sweet foods, remember to always brush your teeth as soon as possible.
6. If you have bad breath, a dental issue may be to blame.
More than 85% of cases related to bad breath (halitosis) are due to dental health issues. If your bad breath is caused by a dental condition, you may be tempted to treat it with mouthwash. However, using mouthwash will only mask the odor for a little while. It will not address the underlying issue and cause. For this, it is best to consult a dentist to find a solution as soon as possible. It may be a mouth or gum infection, or other more serious conditions.
7. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial.
One of the best things for your dental health are regular checkups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. These regularly scheduled checkups can prevent cavities, gum disease, root canals, oral cancer, gum diseases, and other dental health conditions. Preventive care is important to maintain your oral health and is considered less expensive in the long-run.
8. Gum disease affects your overall health, not just your dental health.
It’s widely known that gum disease is the number one leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It has also been linked to other seemingly unrelated health problems such as heart disease and strokes. If gum disease is not treated properly in the early stages, it could progress into a serious stage of gum disease known as Periodontitis (bacterial inflammation of the gums), which can lead to bone loss. Ensuring regular checkups and cleanings can help you diagnose and prevent gum disease.
9. Dental exams also include oral cancer screenings.
Oral cancer is one of the most lethal diseases, causing more than 20 deaths per day in the United States. When receiving a dental exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will also inspect for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is highly treatable if diagnosed and treated early on. For this reason, going in for regular dental exams is extremely beneficial in the long-run.
10. Brushing every day is critical between dental exams.
When you brush your teeth properly twice a day, every day, you are eliminating plaque containing bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay. Plaque is the soft and sticky white substance that accumulates on the teeth from food remnants and bacteria buildup. If you floss daily, it’ll help remove plaque buildup between your teeth, areas your toothbrush cannot reach properly. Brushing daily can also remove harmful bacteria that lead to gingivitis.
There you have it – 10 things your dentist wants you to know about the importance of routine dental exams! If remembering all 10 tips is too difficult, just remember 2 things: schedule regular dental appointments, and brush/floss every day to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Did we miss any other facts about dental appointments? Let us know in the comments below!
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